Like most veterans after the Vietnam war, I was searching for a career and a livelihood. I was 24, inexperienced, naïve and apprehensive. There was no recipe that gave me the ingredients to a secure and comfortable life. I was fortunate that my experience in the war did not deter my enthusiasm to join the real world or excel at a profession.
One day, I saw a commercial that caught my eye. It was one of those late night ads that attracted unemployed people to invest in real estate or join a pyramid scheme. The commercial featured an attractive lady getting into her Mercedes-Benz on her way to her job. She was smiling, well dressed and had an independent look about her. She was a court reporter. As the commercial went on, the punch line at the end was the closer for me. It was not the easy financing or the prestigious look, but the hook that said that I can be a court reporter in a few months. After years of taking orders in the army, this independent career was very appealing.
As I went through the process of becoming a court reporter, I realized certain truths about the profession. One is that being a court reporter is hard work. That care free look in the commercial was misleading and that Mercedes-Benz quickly turned into a Toyota. Second, time management and deadlines will become an important part of a court reporter’s life. Third, the physical demands of travel, tension and mental focus played a role in every job I would take.
After 45 years and 7,250 depositions later, I would like to think I made the right decision. It has not always been easy or smooth, but court reporting has provided me with financial security, a career, self worth and personal relationships that will last forever. I can tell you that court reporting is not for everyone, but if you decide that this is the profession for you, then it can be as rewarding and fulfilling as any other calling.